Beach party head scarves started making waves in the fashion world during the early 1960s. While original head scarves date back to the mid-1940s, the item became a staple in woman’s attire during the 1960s with help from fashionistas of the era. Women wore head scarves with nearly every style of outfit, from work wear to party dresses to beachwear. The scarves’ combinations of color, styles and designs gave women a way to add extra femininity to their wardrobe.
Head scarves originated as a staple clothing item for maids, laborers and slaves to protect their scalps and hair from the sun as well as dirt and grime. During the 1960s, the head scarf became associated with beachwear and bathing suits as a way to add style and protect a woman’s hair from the water. In 1963, bikinis and headscarves became all the rage after the production of “Beach Party,” a musical which fueled the fashion trend even more. Suddenly, fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy and Mary Quant were sporting beach party head scarves with mini-skirts, bathing suits and office wear. Scarves were produced in a variety of colors and styles, and were worn by society members of any race, religion or status.
During the 1960s, beach party head scarves were long strips of fabric that were tied around the hairline of a woman’s head. Whether used at the beach or while driving in the car, these scarves helped protect intricate hairstyles from moisture or wind. Women also wore head scarves around their necks like chokers to accent business attire and tied behind their head like a headband while cleaning and cooking. Women paired beach party head scarves with big sunglasses and red lipstick. These styles were recognized as being glamorous and fashion-forward.
Color and Size
When beach party head scarves first hit the fashion scene, the scarves were predominately made in bright, solid colors or polka dot patterns. These styles allowed the scarves to be matched to nearly any outfit or beach attire. Most scarves were manufactured to be 20.5-inches by 20.5-inches. Women could easily fold them in half for protection over their hair. During the 1960s, other sizes emerged including head scarves that were 3 feet long and 4 inches wide for use as a headband and ones that were triangle-shaped with long ends so they were easy to tie underneath the chin.
Cotton was the common fabric choice for beach head scarves in the 1960s. It was lightweight and absorbent for ample moisture protection. Socialites were able to afford quality silk head scarves for their attire. Silk head scarves offered additional moisturizing benefits for women’s hair that was not found with the cotton blend.